Educational Services  >  Technology

Information & Instructional Technology


Technology must be like oxygen: 

Ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible.

- Chris Lehmann

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Lisa DeLapo

Director, Information & Instructional Technology


Please review the Frequently Asked Questions below. If you have additional questions for the USD Technology Department, please contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

The most commonly asked technology questions.

Why a 1:1 take home Program?

Union School District believes that the integration of technology into the learning process is essential to preparing students for their futures. 1:1 technology provides anytime/anywhere learning and opens the doors to collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking skills that students need to compete and contribute in our local and the global society.

By preparing our students to communicate and collaborate in an ethical and safe manner we are preparing them for their futures. The Common Core Standards both explicitly and implicitly require students in all grades to use technology to research, collaborate, and create original works. Additionally, the California State Assessments begin in third grade and are administered entirely on a computer. Using technology throughout the year in an authentic manner will better prepare our students for this new generation of assessments.

As we saw with the global pandemic, students needed to be able to be online for distance learning when schools were closed. Having access to the school device gives students the ability to pivot to the anytime/anywhere learning model.

What's a Chromebook?

A Chromebook is a laptop running Chrome OS as its operating system. Chromebooks are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet and integrate with Google Apps for Education, the collaborative learning environment used by Union School District teachers and students.

Chromebooks give students, teachers, and administrators a simple solution for fast, intuitive, and easy-to-manage computing. Chromebooks provide access to the web's education and collaboration resources, as well as offer centralized management and low total cost of ownership. Chromebooks offer durable and affordable access to learning resources for all students.

Why can't my student just use their personal Macbook or Windows device?

Our initial 1:1 program requires that all students carry with them and use the District-standard Chromebook at school for a number of reasons, including the following:

Why can't my student bring/use their personal Chromebook at school?

Currently we are unable to manage non-district owned Chromebooks. Unfortunately this means that we are unable to push critical settings and applications, including the district web filter, the new state online assessment secure application and wireless network settings. Therefore we cannot allow the use of personal Chromebooks at school as this time.

Will students use the Chromebook for everything?

No. The Chromebook will not replace the teacher or traditional hands-on activities that also make learning fun and relevant. Teachers will carefully plan lessons that make appropriate use of technology and will continue to provide exceptional teaching and learning opportunities for students. Just as your student doesn't use a pencil for every learning activity at Union School District, neither will they use the Chromebook for every learning activity.

Does this mean that students will not have textbooks?

No, students will continue to have textbooks; however, they can expect fewer textbooks in upcoming years as Union School District expands its implementation of 1:1. Some students may be enrolled in courses that continue to utilize textbooks to support classroom instruction. It is important to note that the curriculum is not dictated by the textbook. The textbook is one of many resources used to deliver the curriculum.

How will students be prepared for the responsibility of having their own computing device?

The 1:1 initiative will become a part of the student’s everyday classroom experience. Union School District has developed a rigorous and intensive professional development program for teachers that will ensure that they have the skills needed to teach your student how to use his or her device to the fullest potential. Your student will learn: digital citizenship, internet safety, collaborative communication skills and more. Students will also learn how to care for and protect their Chromebook.

How will this initiative impact the parents of Union School District Students?

This program represents a partnership between teachers, students and parents. Parents are encouraged to talk to their student about how they are using technology to learn in the classroom and what their teachers expectations are for them with the technology at home. This is also an opportunity to talk to students about personal responsibility. Students will need to care for their device, charge it, and use it to the fullest educational potential. With parental support, the district is certain that students will benefit from 1:1 technology and instruction.

What will prevent students from accessing inappropriate sites?

Filtering software is installed on each device and will be active anywhere the student uses the computer, including at home. However, it is important to recognize that no web filter is capable of blocking all objectionable content all of the time.

Ensuring students are accessing the Internet responsibly both at school and at home requires a combination of "over the shoulder" monitoring, periodically reviewing student Internet activity and educating students on the appropriate use of the Internet.

Will the device be turned in over school breaks?

At this time we are planning to allow students to keep their devices over breaks.

What happens if I do not want my student to bring the device home?

We believe access to appropriate educational technology is increasingly becoming an integral part of the learning environment. However, if you feel that this is not the right solution for your student, we ask that parents/guardians inform their school administrator as soon as possible so that alternative accommodations can be discussed.

Can parents have an administrative account on the Chromebooks?

Chromebooks do not have “administrative” accounts that provide elevated permissions or supervision capabilities. Student Google Apps for Education accounts are managed by the district. If a parent would like access to their student’s account, you can request the account password from one of your student’s teachers. You will be able to login to their Google Apps for Education account, which will give you full access to your student's data and web browser history.

What technical support is provided for the Chromebook?

Fortunately the Chromebook is a straightforward device that requires minimal support. School technical support staff are available to troubleshoot and diagnose issues during the school day. If the device should have an issue after school, students should alert their teacher the following school day. For issues that cannot be resolved quickly, a temporary Chromebook will be issued while the student’s device is being repaired.

Are students able to access their school data from personal computers?

Yes, students can sign into their unionsd.org Google Apps for Education account and access their school data from a personal computer, however, their internet access will not be filtered by the District’s web filter as it is when using a district assigned Chromebook.

Can students play games on the Chromebook?

Chromebooks should be used for educational purposes. 3D intensive games and Java-based games will not run on a Chromebook. However, the Chromebook will run many HTML5 web based games and the school web filter is set to block many of these game sites. If you find your student accessing a web based game, please email the web site to help@unionsd.org and we will evaluate the site for inclusion in the district web filter.

What should we do if the Chromebook is lost or stolen?

Report the lost or stolen Chromebook to your teacher/school administrator immediately. If the Chromebook is lost or stolen after school hours or off campus, file a police report. If you purchased the optional insurance, file a claim for reimbursement. You are responsible for the replacement cost of the device, approximately $300, to be paid to the school district in the event the device is not recovered.

Can Chromebooks be left in lockers overnight?

Due to security concerns, Chromebooks may not be left in lockers overnight.

What will happen next year when my student moves to their next grade?

They will take the Chromebook with them to their next grade while attending Union School District.

I'm concerned about my child's online privacy, what should I do?

Common Sense Media has very good resources for parents regarding online privacy for children. Their most frequently asked questions can be found here. If you have privacy concerns about classroom activities or educational applications, please contact your child's teacher or your site administrator or send an email to help@unionsd.org.

Is there software that would allow me to set parental controls for the Chromebook, including the ability to set time limits on my child's online use, at home?

There are generally two ways to get parental controls setup in your home: by installing software or by using parental controls on a "Smart" WiFi router. Unfortunately, there are few software options for Chromebooks (if you find a good one, please let us know as we have to install it).

A "Smart" WiFi router with built-in parental controls is the other option. The "Smart" Wifi router enables you to protect your entire home without having to worry about a software license for every device. Because the WiFi router is the access point to the Internet for your entire household, there is no way around it and all of your devices, regardless of type, are protected. "Smart" WiFi routers are relatively inexpensive, and often offer apps for your smartphone that enable you to set filtering and time restrictions from anywhere.

Is there a way to make the Chromebook screen bigger?

The Chromebook has some accessibility features that may help with visibility on the 11.6" screen. https://support.google.com/chromebook/answer/177893?hl=en. It is also possible to connect the chromebook to an external monitor. The Chromebook has an HDMI connection. If your home monitor supports HDMI, then all that is needed is an HDMI-to-HDMI cable. If your monitor has a VGA connector, then you will need an HDMI-to-VGA adapter like this one. When first connected, the chromebook will extend the desktop to the second display. You can set the display to mirror following these instructions.